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Environmental News Network

  • Study shows sunlight, not microbes dominate CO2 production in Arctic
    Just how much Arctic permafrost will thaw in the future and how fast heat-trapping carbon dioxide will be released from those warming soils is a topic of lively debate among climate scientists. To answer those questions, scientists need to understand the mechanisms that control the conversion of organic soil carbon into carbon dioxide gas. Until now, researchers believed that bacteria were largely responsible.
  • University of Illinois studying bee venom as cancer treatment
    Another reason to love bees: they might be able to help us fight cancer. While venom isn't usually known as a friendly thing, new research shows that venom from bees, snakes and scorpions could potentially be used to fight certain forms of cancer. While you wouldn't go and inject someone with a dose of venom, which could have lethal effects, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that if they isolated specific proteins in the venom, these could be used in a safe way to block tumor growth.
  • NASA reports unknown source of banned ozone-destroying compound
    NASA research has revealed the Earth's atmosphere contains an unexpectedly large amount of an ozone-depleting compound from an unknown source decades after the compound was banned worldwide. Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), which was once used in applications such as dry cleaning and as a fire-extinguishing agent, was regulated in 1987 under the Montreal Protocol along with other chlorofluorocarbons that destroy ozone and contribute to the ozone hole over Antarctica. Parties to the Montreal Protocol reported zero new CCl4 emissions between 2007-2012.
  • Turning Jellyfish into Sustainable Medical Products
    In a United Nations report released in May, scientists worldwide were called upon to join the war on jellyfish. According to the report, jellyfish have overwhelmed the marine ecosystem as a result of the overfishing of more competitive species, consuming fish eggs and larvae of weaker specimens and creating what the report called a "vicious cycle." So how can this cycle be stopped?
  • Arctic insects and spiders can survive colder temperatures than thought
    Arctic bugs can survive in frozen ground as cold as -27°C, scientists have revealed. It is the first time higher-order invertebrates such as spiders, flies and beetles have been found coping in direct exposure to such cold temperatures. Previous lows were between just -5°C and a little below -10°C. The research, published in the Journal of Thermal Biology, suggests they may be more resilient to climate change than first feared.
  • Africa Faces Unsustainable Levels of Ivory Poaching
    When it comes to illegal wildlife trade, one thing has always puzzled me ... Why is the demand for ivory so high? While I may not come across the black-market demands or understand the cultural or historical needs for these rare animal teeth, one thing is easy to see - populations of the African elephant are declining.
  • When Forests Aren't Really Forests: The High Cost of Chile's Tree Plantaions
    At first glance, the statistics tell a hopeful story: Chile’s forests are expanding. According to Global Forest Watch, overall forest cover changes show approximately 300,000 hectares were gained between 2000 and 2013 in Chile’s central and southern regions. Specifically, 1.4 million hectares of forest cover were gained, while about 1.1 million hectares were lost. On the ground, however, a different scene plays out: monocultures have replaced diverse natural forests while Mapuche native protesters burn pine plantations, blockade roads and destroy logging equipment. At the crux of these two starkly contrasting narratives is the definition of a single word: “forest.”

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